Mark's Gospel

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The Cleansing of the Temple

(Mark 11:15-19)

Although not quoted by the gospel writers, the prophet Malachi spoke of a time when, '...the Lord whom you seek will come to his Temple.' (Malachi 3:1). This incident then can be seen as further pointing to Jesus' Messiahship.

The many pilgrims who visited the Temple needed the services provided by the money changers and pigeons sellers in the Court of Gentiles. Jesus was not in principle opposed to this practice. People often travelled great distances and it was convenient that they should be able to purchase sacrificial animals in the Temple which conformed to the strict rules laid down in the Law of Moses. Temple dues had to be paid in Jewish coinage because foreign coins were stamped with the images of rulers or heathen gods. Any money made in this trade went to the chief priests.

Jesus quoted the words of Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:1, 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples, But you have turned it into a robbers' den.' The Jewish authorities could not ignore this public act of protest against the Temple.

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